What is Dehydration?
Water makes up around 60% of our body weight, and while we can survive without food for weeks, dehydration can kill us within days or even hours depending on temperature and environment. Dehydration occurs when more water is moving out of our cells than into them.
Signs of dehydration include fatigue, dizziness, lack of regular urination, dark colored urine, and even headaches.
Causes of DehydrationIn addition to lack of adequate fluid intake, dehydration can be caused by certain medications, excessive sweating due to heat exposure and/or exercise, as well as diarrhea and vomiting. Less commonly known causes of dehydration include: visiting a new environment or climate which our bodies are not acclimated to (ex: the beach, or the desert), high caffeine intake, and consistent undereating.
How to Stay HydratedExperts recommend consuming between 11 to 16 cups of fluids per day, or 88 to 128 ounces per day. While drinking plain water may be the best way to meet our daily fluid needs, experts say we also absorb necessary fluids from foods including: cucumber, celery, watermelon, broth as well as additional beverages including tea and coffee.
While consuming enough fluids through food and drink is the most important step towards staying properly hydrated, it’s also important to get enough electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that are needed to help your body absorb fluids. If you are sweating excessively due to extreme heat or strenuous exercise it may be necessary to add additional electrolytes into your diet intentionally. But, doctors say, for most people in most situations eating a well-rounded diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables will be sufficient for maintaining appropriate electrolyte intake.
Maintaining proper hydration through drinking enough fluids and eating a balanced diet is important for our physical, mental, and emotional health. For those who find drinking plain water boring, there are many recipes online for hydration boosting snacks and beverages to keep things interesting.
Hydration and Skin Appearance
Hydrating helps your body function well and improve overall health.
"The truth is that when you drink water, it doesn't automatically go to the skin—it hydrates cells once absorbed into the bloodstream and filtered by the kidneys.... So, at the cellular level, drinking water is great as it flushes the system and hydrates our bodies overall." - Margarita Lolis, MD
You can lock in moisture in your skin by protecting it from drying elements and adding in protective moisturizers.
To prevent skin dryness, you can choose:
- select gentle, sulfate-free cleansers
- lock in moisture after showers or baths by moisturizing the skin/body immediately
- use humidifiers in dry spaces